Picking out the turkey today!

Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Picking out the turkey today!
9
Sat, 11-17-2012 - 11:37am

Since I've decided to salt brine (no water) the turkey this year, I've really been doing my homework and probably overthinking the whole thing.  After watching videos and reading articles all day yesterday, it finally hit me...I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING, I'VE DONE THIS FOREVER.  After all, this is MEMPHIS and we dry rub EVERYTHING.  One turkey I did for Easter about 20 years ago was inspired by something I saw Jeff Smith do.  Did you know that salt brine is the basic technique for Pressed duck and you can press any bird?  So I pressed turkey.  The family was not just impressed, they were AWE STRICKEN.  i can't remember another meal where no one uttered a WORD and there was no turkey left over.  Here's how it worked:

I boned the turkey, cut the meat into cutlets, and rendered down the skin and bones in a skillet.  Layered the meat in a bowl with handfuls of salt and rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley...OK, sing the song...  I put a plate on top and set heavy cans on it to do the pressing.  Into the fridge for about 36 hours.  After the skin and bones rendered, I strained them and put the fat in the fridge.  

DAY OF I rinsed the salt off of the turkey (Amazing, the herbs did not rinse away) and dredged the turkey cutlets in flour, and fried them up like chicken fried steak in the rendered turkey fat.  After they were all browned, I piled the cutlets back into the skillet, covered it, and let it sit on low heat for about 20 minutes while I made gravy from turkey stock (made from the wings, tail, neck, and giblets).  It was OMG incredible!  The bird was about 10 lbs, whole, but 3 adults and 2 tweens ate the WHOLE THING.  

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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2002
Fri, 11-23-2012 - 6:40pm
WOW Kroni, you sure can do the strange stuff.. I cook and bake plenty in my life but never like this...
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Avatar for CMEvelyn
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2012
Fri, 11-23-2012 - 1:12pm

k_roni wrote:
The praises of the dressing were limitless.  And everyone likes the corners.  I keep forgetting to try cooking dressing in a muffin tin, so that EVERYONE gets a whole LOT of corners.  

My sister always puts her stuffing in muffin tins, so everyone's is crispy. We love it that way!

Your dinner sounds out-of-this-world good!

Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Thu, 11-22-2012 - 8:56pm

Serious Eats butterflied turkey 

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/11/butterfiled-roast-turkey-with-gravy-recipe.html

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Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Thu, 11-22-2012 - 8:52pm

My butterflied bird

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

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Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Thu, 11-22-2012 - 8:25pm

Well, the dry brine turkey was DEFINITELY a family hit!  We'll be doing this A LOT!  I used kosher salt, a generous coating all over the bird.  Here's the great part; you don't have to thaw the bird first.  It can thaw while it brines, 3 days in the fridge.  I re-salted on the second night.  Keep it covered with film wrap but not tightly; part of the magic is drying that skin so it seals in juices.  After the third day, I removed the backbone and wing tips to use for stock with the neck (the bird was oddly bereft of the bag of giblets) and cracked the breastbone to lay the bird out flat.  I rinsed and dried it well, then seasoned with pepper and brushed with olive oil (not in that order), and put it back into the fridge overnight while the stock simmered in the crock pot.  

I used a rack of carrots and celery under my turkey in the pan; aromatics are critical to something as neutral as turkey.  Since I know now that the technique is flawless, I will be adding some herbs to my salt rub in the future.  Anyway, the butterflied bird cooked SO evenly, in 2 hours, and was a lovely golden brown.  

On to the dressing.  I had been stockpiling remnants of bread, cornbread, waffles, and buns in the freezer for a few months, all made from my home milled flours and corn meal, so that was chopped up and put into a bowl with chopped celery, bell pepper, and onion; a few raw eggs, poultry seasoning, garlic, and chicken broth until it was mushy.  Spread into a casserole, topped with butter pats, and into the fridge for baking later.  I've even used biscuits in my dressing; nothing is off limits.  

The praises of the dressing were limitless.  And everyone likes the corners.  I keep forgetting to try cooking dressing in a muffin tin, so that EVERYONE gets a whole LOT of corners.  

We had a friend today who is from India.  She brought a traditional rice salad dish and we had a fabulous discussion of naan bread.  She was quite interesting, loves to cook, had never had Southern cornbread dressing before (had to have some to take home) and I hope to share some recipes with her in the future.  

My daughter made sweet potato souffle, cranberry salad (the family recipes for both), and a citrus salad.  She also made pumpkin pies again, even though she knows that none of us care about dessert.  I milled fresh flour last night and made roll dough to rise in the fridge.  The rolls were excellent, we made Parker House rolls in mini muffin pans.  

A little chai tea rounded out everything.  What a great day.  Sunny, 72 F, people playing outside, and a lot of Christmas lights went up in my neighborhood this afternoon.  

My next door neighbor just came over to tell me that his wife ordered the building of a new fence tonight and wanted to know if I would mind saws and pounding until  about midnight...I love my wierd neighbors!

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Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Tue, 11-20-2012 - 10:06pm
If Alton did it, I missed that one. I was crazy about Jeff Smith's show. Too bad he perved on little boys and wound up in prison. He's the one that got me into culinary history and the more scientific side of stuff...
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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-17-2001
Mon, 11-19-2012 - 3:17pm
Didn't Alton do that? I seem to remember him doing something like that. I do remember watching him brine a turkey, and it was the first time I'd heard of it.

~Misty~


 


Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Mon, 11-19-2012 - 12:02pm
Leave it to me to chicken fry a turkey!
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Avatar for CMEvelyn
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2012
Mon, 11-19-2012 - 10:06am

Wow, I've never heard of a turkey cooked anything like that! Next time take pictures!